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AdvocacyPublic, legislative and legal advocacy

Individuals wishing to seek amicus assistance from the ELA should contact the legal department at (800) 266-3382. In order to have time to take the case through the approval process, assistance should be requested at the earliest possible opportunity.

Special Education Issues
T.B. v. San Diego Unified School District

March 2013, Ninth Circuit Federal Appellate Court
Issues:
1) Would a district’s violation of a procedural requirement of the IDEA or a related statute equate to “deliberate indifference,” resulting in a per se violation of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act? 2) Are parents entitled to a full award of attorney’s fees and costs when offers of settlement by the district did not replicate the award ordered by the ALJ?

Layoff/Skipping
Acquisto et al v. Sacramento City Unified School District
February 2013, Sacramento Superior Court
Issue:
Is it in the school board’s discretion, to determine that low performing schools that incorporate programs designed for students attending the low performing schools, be defined as a “course of study” as that term is used for layoffs to skip less senior employees assigned to those schools?

California Environmental Quality Act Categorical Exemption
Berkeley Hillside Preservation v. City of Berkeley
January, 2013, California Supreme Court
Issue:
For a project that is categorically exempt from review under the California Environmental Quality Act ("CEQA"); does the “unusual circumstances” exception to the exemption in CEQA Guidelines section 15300.2(c)Z require both a finding that there is a reasonable possibility of a significant environmental effect and a finding that the potentially significant effect is due to "unusual circumstances"?

Attorneys’ Fees to District for Frivolous PRA Lawsuit
Crews v. Willows Unified School District et al.
October, 2012 California Court of Appeals
Issue:
Is the failure to allow a school district an opportunity to comply with the Public Records Act before serving and prosecuting a lawsuit, frivolous and warrant the awarding of attorney fees to a district?

Special Education to Incarcerated Adult Students
Los Angeles USD v. Garcia
May 2012, California Supreme Court
Issue:
Since the legislation has been silent regarding which public entity is responsible to provide special education services to qualifying adult individuals ages 18 to 22 who are incarcerated in county jails, should the responsibility default to the state?
Revocation Proceedings for Charter Schools
Today’s Fresh Start v. Los Angeles County Office of Education
March 2012, California Supreme Court
Issue:
Does due process require an evidentiary hearing before a neutral hearing officer or decision-maker prior to the revocation of a charter school’s charter by a county board of education?
Board’s Authority to Approve/Deny Charter Petitions
United Teachers Los Angeles v. Los Angeles USD
August 2010, California Supreme Court
Issue:
Are the procedures mandated by the Charter Schools Act a proper subject for collective bargaining under the Educational Employment Relations Act, the law governing public school labor relations in California?
Classification of a Temporary Teacher
McIntyre v. Sonoma Valley Unified School District
California Court of Appeal
Issue:
Can a school district classify a certificated employee as “temporary” for multiple school years in a row and still retain release rights and non-reelect rights if the employee is subsequently hired in probationary position?
Split Roll Parcel Tax
Beery/Borikas v. Alameda Unified School District
California Court of Appeal
Issue:
Does a parcel tax which charges different rates for residential and commercial parcels violate the requirement that the tax be “uniform?”
District Liable for Negligent Hiring of an Employee
C.A. v. William S. Hart Union HSD
California Supreme Court
Issue:
When there is not an underlying statutory basis for liability, can a school district be held directly liable for the negligent hiring and supervision of an employee who, acting outside of the scope of her employment, abused a student?
Withdrawal of Compensation in Eminent Domain Actions
Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority v. Alameda Produce Market
California Supreme Court
Joined in brief filed by The League of California Cities and Others
Issue:
When utilizing the “quick take” eminent domain proceedings, does a lender’s withdrawal of the probable compensation deposit result in a waiver of the property owner’s right to challenge the taking?
Administration of Insulin to Students
American Nurses Association, et al. v. Jack O’Connell and the California Department of Education, American Diabetes Association, Intervener
California Supreme Court
Issue:
Under California law, may unlicensed, trained employees (i.e., without a nursing license) administer insulin to students pursuant to a Section 504 plan or a student’s IEP?
Reasonable Search and Seizure for Student Interviews
Green v. Camreta/U.S. Supreme Court
Issue:
Is an interview of a child on school grounds by a social worker in the presence of law enforcement a “seizure” requiring, absent exigent circumstances, that a warrant, court order, or parental consent first be obtained?
Applicability of State Wage Orders to Public Employers
Sheppard v. North Orange County Regional Occupational Program
California Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District
Joined in brief filed by The League of California Cities and the California State Association of Counties
Issue:
Do minimum wage orders promulgated by the Industrial Welfare Commission (IWC) apply to public employers, such as school districts and ROPs?
Teachers’ Freedom of Speech
Johnson v. Poway USD
9th Circuit Court of Appeal
Joined in brief filed by the National School Boards Association
Issue:
To what extent may a district regulate a teacher’s freedom of speech in the classroom on issues not related to the curriculum?
Interviews by Social Workers on School Grounds
Greene v. Camreta
U.S. Supreme Court
Joined in brief filed by the California State Association of Counties and League of California Cities
Issue:
Is an interview of a child on school grounds by a social worker in the presence of law enforcement a “seizure” requiring, absent exigent circumstances, that a warrant, court order, or parental consent first be obtained?
Right of Employer to Search Employee Text Messages
City of Ontario v. Quon
U.S. Supreme Court
Joined in brief filed by the National School Boards Association
Issue:
Did the City violate the Fourth Amendment when it searched text messages from an employee’s pager where the City’s official policy gave officers no privacy in their pagers but a supervisor allowed some personal use of pagers?
Student Club Compliance with Nondiscrimination Policy
Christian Legal Society Chapter of the University of California Hastings College of Law v. Martinez
U.S. Supreme Court
Joined in brief filed by the National School Boards Association
Issue:
Does the U.S. Constitution allow a state law school to deny official recognition to a religious student organization for its failure to comply with the school’s nondiscrimination policy?
Timeline for Commencement of Dismissal Hearing
Kaye v. San Leandro USD
California Court of Appeal
Issue:
Is the 60-day timeline for commencement of a hearing on the charges for dismissal of a certificated employee directory or mandatory?
CEQA Statute of Limitations
Committee for Green Foothills v. County of Santa Clara and the Board of Supervisors of the County of Santa Clara
Santa Clara County Superior Court
Issue:
Does an agency’s properly filed and posted notice of determination (NOA) trigger the 30- day statute of limitations for California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) challenges or may a court disregard the NOD and apply a longer limitations period if the plaintiff alleges that the agency did not comply with CEQA when it approved the project?
Dismissal of Employee Resulting from “No Contest” Plea
Cahoon v. Governing Board of Ventura Unified School District
California Court of Appeal
Issue:
Can a district dismiss a classified employee for his plea of no contest to a drug offense specified in the Education Code as a mandatory leave offense?
Board Censure Resolution
Californians Aware v. Orange Unified School District
California Court of Appeal
Issue:
Does a school district governing board have the right to adopt a censure resolution to collectively express its opinion about the improper conduct of an individual board member?
Baseline for Assessing Environmental Impacts
Communities for a Better Environment v. South Coast Air Quality Management District, (SCAQMD)
California Supreme Court
Issue:

What is the “baseline” for assessing the impacts of modifications to existing facilities for purposes of environmental review under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)?
Right of Student to Attend a Protest During the School Day
Corales et al. v Bennett, Kinley et al. (Ontario-Montclair School District)
U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeal
Issue:
Is a middle school student’s act of leaving school without permission or supervision of parents or school authorities to attend a protest during the school day expressive conduct protected by First Amendment free speech rights?
Certificated Layoff “Skipping”
Hildebrandt v. St. Helena USD
California Court of Appeal
Issue:
In a certificated lay-off, may a district “skip” a junior full-time employee and lay off two more senior part-time employees qualified to perform the particular kind of service being reduced?
Bargaining of the Decision to Layoff Employees
International Association of Fire Fighters, Local 188 v. PERB (City of Richmond, RPI)
California Supreme Court
Issue:
Is the decision to layoff employees a mandatory subject of collective bargaining under the Meyers-Milias-Brown Act?
Application of Wage and Hour Laws to School Districts
Johnson, et al. v. Arvin-Edison Water Storage District et al.
California Court of Appeal
Issue:
Do California’s wage and hours laws found in the Labor Code and California’s Industrial Welfare Commission Wage Orders apply to public agencies such as school districts?
Liability for Cost Overruns in Facility Contracts
Los Angeles USD v. Great American Insurance Co. et al.
California Supreme Court
Issue:
Must a school district pay a contractor for cost overruns beyond an agreed-upon contract price when there is no evidence the district had any intent to defraud?
Attorneys’ Fees in Settlement of a Special Education Lawsuit
M.D. and S.D v. OAH and Saddleback Valley USD
U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeal
Issue:
Are attorneys’ fees available to a parent who accepts a school district’s written offer of settlement 10 days prior to the start of a due process hearing under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act?
Teacher Failure to Obtain Required English Learner Certification
Ripon USD v. Comm. on Professional Competence, Theresa Messick, RPI
California Court of Appeal
Issue:
May a school district terminate a Life Single Subject Teaching Credential (music) teacher who refuses to obtain English Learner certification as required in the collective bargaining agreement?
Use of District Mailboxes for Campaign Purposes
San Leandro Teachers Association, CTA/NEA; California Teachers Association v. San Leandro Unified School District
California Supreme Court
Issue:
Does the Education Code require that a district prohibit the local teachers association and others from using school mailboxes to distribute political material?